Revelation 1:11
(11) I am Alpha and Omega.--In this verse we pass from St. John to Him who was the Word, of whom St. John gave testimony. He who is the faithful witness now speaks. "What thou seest, write," &c. The previous words, "I am Alpha," &c., are not found in the best MSS. The words "which are in Asia," are also omitted.

The seven churches.--There were more than seven churches in Asia Minor; but the number selected indicates completeness. Thus, though having special reference to the conditions of those churches, the epistles may be regarded as epistles conveying ever appropriate lessons to the churches of succeeding ages. The names of the seven churches are enumerated, as they would naturally be by a person writing from Patmos. "First, Ephesus is addressed, as the Asiatic metropolis, and as the nearest church to Patmos; then the other churches on the western coast of Asia; then those in the interior" (Wordsworth).

Verse 11. - On ample evidence (א, A, C, and all versions), "I am Alpha ... the Last; and" must be omitted; also "which are in Asia." Write in a book; literally, into a book (εἰς βιβλίον). Over and over again, twelve times in all, St. John reminds us that he writes this book by Divine command (ver. 19; Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; Revelation 3:1, 7, 14; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5; comp. Revelation 10:4). The seven Churches. The order is not haphazard. It is precisely that which would be natural to a person writing in Patmos or travelling from Ephesus. Ephesus comes first as metropolis; then the city on the coast, Smyrna; then the inland cities in order, working round towards Ephesus again. In short, it is just the order in which St. John would visit the Churches in making an apostolic circuit as metropolitan. With the exception of what is told us in these chapters, the history of the Churches of Pergamum, Thyatira, and Sardis in the apostolic or sub-apostolic age is quite unknown. It was an ancient objection to the Apocalypse that in Thyatira there was no Church (see on Revelation 2:18).

1:9-11 It was the apostle's comfort that he did not suffer as an evil-doer, but for the testimony of Jesus, for bearing witness to Christ as the Immanuel, the Saviour; and the Spirit of glory and of God rested upon this persecuted apostle. The day and time when he had this vision was the Lord's day, the Christian sabbath, the first day of the week, observed in remembrance of the resurrection of Christ. Let us who call him Our Lord, honour him on his own day. The name shows how this sacred day should be observed; the Lord's day should be wholly devoted to the Lord, and none of its hours employed in a sensual, worldly manner, or in amusements. He was in a serious, heavenly, spiritual frame, under the gracious influences of the Spirit of God. Those who would enjoy communion with God on the Lord's day, must seek to draw their thoughts and affections from earthly things. And if believers are kept on the Lord's holy day, from public ordinances and the communion of saints, by necessity and not by choice, they may look for comfort in meditation and secret duties, from the influences of the Spirit; and by hearing the voice and contemplating the glory of their beloved Saviour, from whose gracious words and power no confinement or outward circumstances can separate them. An alarm was given as with the sound of the trumpet, and then the apostle heard the voice of Christ.Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,.... These characters, which are repeated here; see Gill on Revelation 1:8; are left out in the Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions; but are very fitly retained, to point out the person that speaks; to express his dignity, deity, and eternity; to excite the attention of John, and to give weight to what he said:

and, what thou seest, write in a book; that it might remain, and be read of all men, and be profitable to the churches in the then present age, and in all future ones:

and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; from whence it appears, that not only the seven following epistles were sent to the churches, but that after John had written in a book the account of all the visions that he saw, the whole was sent unto them, for their use and benefit; and who are particularly named:

unto Ephesus; which was a city of Ionia, and which Pliny calls (f) the work of the Amazons, and the light of Asia; it was famous for the temple of Diana, but more so for having a church of Christ in it: hither the Apostle Paul came and preached, and continued for the space of two years; where a very famous church was planted by him, and proper officers appointed, to whom he wrote a very excellent epistle: this is now a miserable desolate place, not a city, but a village; and is called by the Turks, Aiasalik: of this place and church; See Gill on Acts 18:19, Acts 20:17,

and unto Smyrna; another city of Ionia, so called from Smyrna, the wife of Theseus (g), the builder of it; or from Smyrna, an Amazon (h), the relies of whose marble bust are to be seen there to this day: it lies about forty six miles from Ephesus, and is by the Turks now called Esmir, and is still a place famous, not for pompous buildings, but for number of inhabitants, riches, and commerce:

and unto Pergamos; this was a city of Mysia, situated by the river Caicus, formerly the seat of the kings of Attalia, and was bequeathed by Attalus, their last king, to the Romans: it is famous for being the native place of Galen the physician, and of Apollodorus the rhetorician, master to Augustus Caesar, and for the invention of parchment in it, from whence it seems to have its name: it is now called by the Turks Bergamo, and is almost sixty four miles from Smyrna:

and unto Thyatira; a city of Lydia, near the river Lycus, formerly called Pelopia, and Euhippia, and now, by the Turks, Ak Hissar, or "the white camp", and is distant from Pergamos about forty eight miles; See Gill on Acts 16:14,

and unto Sardis; this was another city of Lydia, situated at the side of Mount Tmolus, it was the metropolis of Lydia, and the seat of King Croesus, and is now called, by the Turks, Sart; and instead of a famous city, it is now an obscure little village, of mean houses, and scarce any other inhabitants in it than shepherds and cow keepers, and is thirty three miles from Thyatira:

and unto Philadelphia; another city of Lydia, situated at the foot of Mount Tmolus; it had its name from Attalus Philadelphus, the builder of it; it is now called, by the Turks, Alah Shahr, or "the fair city", though there is nothing beautiful or magnificent in it; it is distant from Thyatira about twenty seven miles:

and unto Laodicea; another city of Lydia, near the river Lycus, first named Diospolis, afterwards Rhoas, and is now, by the Turks, called Eski Hissar, or "the old camp"; and is inhabited by none, unless it be in the night, by wolves, foxes, and jackals, as our countryman Dr. Smith affirms, in his "Notitia" of the seven churches of Asia; from whom I have taken the account of these cities as they now are, and the rest from Pliny and Ptolomy chiefly,

(f) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 29. (g) Herodot. de Vita Homeri. c. 2.((h) Vid. Hiller. Onomastic. p. 932.

Revelation 1:10
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